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Gareth Chambers

Horizon 2023 artist

Gareth Chambers is a 2023 Horizon artist, in residence at FABRIC from 16-27 January.  During his residency, he will be focusing on new research in his series The Revenge of Popperface which aims to investigate and frame the cult of masculinity in pop culture, Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) and the power of music to offer alternative realities and narratives.

Working-class masculinity is often demonised as destructive, toxic, lazy and violent in today’s media. Gareth’s ambition is to embody and subvert this narrative, creating a character (Popperface) whose angry, power-hungry and ambitious. Supported by two henchmen/dancers, Popperface aims to demonstrate that working classness can be positive and empowering.

Gareth explains, “Through experimenting with personas, I believe I can provide space for us as a wider society to discuss the disproportionate level of working-class people in the arts. I’m worried that people who grew up like me won’t even consider a career in the arts due to financial pressure or lack of exposure to artistic culture which can be life-changing. The Revenge of Popperface is my way of framing my culture and history.”

During the 2 week residency, Gareth will work with sound technician Jaxson Payne experimenting and distorting pop music, with the aim of creating a performance track which is unique to the show.

Dance artists Richard Pye and Black Haine will also join him in the studio to explore the first initial stages of movement exploration around MMA and aggro contact. As an experienced MMA/Boxing practitioner he will explore MMA within a contact improvisation setting.


After spending time in Cardiff and London, Gareth moved to Hull last year to be back home and re-connect to his cultural heritage. As a dance maker, he is interested in researching non-traditional dance methodologies to create choreography which is raw and real-time based.

Since graduating from Laban, Gareth has gained a reputation as an artist who’s unafraid to make work which engages with working-class culture and its influence on masculinity. In 2021 through funding from a DYCP Arts Council England grant Gareth travelled to Asia to receive intensive training in MMA /Boxing which influences how he creates choreographic material.

Gareth has had residencies nationally at DanceBase, Dance4 and Experimentica and internationally in Berlin and ImpulsTanz as a danceweb scholar 2017.  Pre-pandemic Gareth showcased work in Australia, Germany and Israel and danced/choreographed for Malikiscrycrycry.

He has been funded by ACE, ACW, Jerwood and Absolutely Cultured and was Associate Director for The Welsh National Opera as their Jerwood Fellow.  His first short film will be released this summer.